A new and very bright star has emerged among the swimmers at the Arizona State Championships. Zalán Sárkány’s name is becoming more widely known after joining the Sun Devils as a distance swimmer. According to Swimming World Magazine, the young Hungarian athlete could be a “game-changer” for Arizona.
In a very short period of time, Zalán Sárkány has found his land and is already considered one of the best distance swimmers in the US. As a result, Arizona State can excel in events that have not been their strength before, all thanks to the Hungarian swimmer.
The coach also had positive things to say about the young man: “It’s a huge change because we haven’t been doing distance swimming on the highest level since I’ve been here, and it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart,” Arizona State coach Bob Bowman said. “I’m happy that we have someone who will compete for a championship in those events. It also raises the level of everyone around him, because having him in training has really raised the level of all the rest of the group, so it’s going to make that area of our team incredibly strong.”
Sárkány recently made headlines by taking down, then twice lowering, the Arizona State record in the 1,000 meter freestyle to 8:49:31.
This mark had stood since 1984 in the hands of Scott Brackett at 8:57.64. Moreover, the Hungarian swimmer has set the program record in the mile at 14:49:68, though he has yet to put together an elite 500. On the national level, he is 15th in the mile and fifth in the 1,000 meter, but that is not a postseason National Collegiate Athletic Association event. His 500 time is just outside the top 50, but he has plenty of time to improve it as well.
Sárkány has come very far very quickly in Arizona, although he does not have much international experience. He has previously won medals at Hungarian national meets, but he has not represented his country even at the European Junior Championships level. However, this could soon change if he keeps up his performance.
Just how successful Sárkány has been lately, is shown by the fact that one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Michael Phelps, watched him swim a record time in a team event at the University of Arizona (ASU), and then congratulated the 19-year-old Hungarian with a fist bump.
Featured photo via Facebook/Zalán Sárkány